A story of going from being a non-runner to planning for a marathon in three years...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Flagstaff Four

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Welcome to Flagstaff! For those of you that thought Arizona was all desert and the Grand Canyon, guess again! Arizona also has snow-covered mountains which you can see in the background-center of the photo above. In fact, Flagstaff, AZ is where I learned to ski. However, this past weekend, instead of skiing, I attempted my first run at elevation.

Let me tell you, running at nearly 7000 feet above sea level is no joke. The air really is thinner. And when you haven't had sufficient time to adjust to it, you're definitely going to feel it.

I asked my in-laws for some route suggestions and they pointed me in the direction of one of the Flagstaff Urban Trail System ("FUTS" aka "foots") paths that I could pick up near my hotel. Less than half a mile from here:

I was here:

The sidewalks gave way to a crushed cinder and aggregate trail surrounded by pine trees and with a view of the mountains. I ran parallel to Northern Arizona University for awhile and then found myself in a small ravine of sorts. The trail was mostly dry and clear up until that point. Then I found the snow:

It's no surprise there's still snow hanging around. When the snow piles and drifts are still as tall as the local Walmart (I'm not kidding) there's bound to be some in the shady spots.

I'd decided long ago that I had no time goals for this run. I purposely made this an easy week because I knew the altitude would be killer. Also killer? The hills. This photo does not do some of those babies justice.

I didn't take my headphones with me because I wanted to experience being in nature. Other than the occasional bird, though, mostly what I heard was me huffing and puffing. My legs and brain really wanted to go further and faster, but my lungs weren't having any of that. So, instead, I took the opportunity to pause and take pictures (and sometimes look for the trail!) and just enjoy the views. Because, really, when you are running somewhere that looks like this, how could you not?


Route:--Elev. Avg:6864 ft
Location:Flagstaff, AZElev. Gain:-13 ft
Date:04/03/10Up/Downhill: [+216/-229]
Time:09:14 AMDifficulty:3.0 / 5.0
 42 F temp; 46% humidity
 42 F heat index; winds SW 12 G 18

Distance: 4.01 miles
Speed:5.7 mph
Pace:10' 32 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
110' 33+0' 015.7-0.0-20 ft
211' 29+0' 575.2-0.5-40 ft
312' 16+1' 444.9-0.8+39 ft
end12' 14+1' 424.9-0.8+10 ft
Versus average of 10' 32 min/mile

Posted from bimactive.com


Lacey said...

so cool there is a foot trail system!!! i know in CO there is an amazing park system, like a park EVERYWHERE and nice parks,too. big outdoor scene out there. phoenix was kind of dead when i went, but i think the surrounding areas are more active/outdoorsy.

kilax said...

What a beautiful run! I wish I would have tried to run when I was in Denver to see what it feels like at such a high elevation!

(P.S. You are in trouble for posting a picture of snow. NO MORE SNOW!!! Ha ha. Just kidding!)

RunningLaur said...

So cool that you got to run in Flag! We tried to hike on the same exact trail when we were up in early Feb but the snow was way too deep, we couldn't get anywhere - looked nicer for your trip!

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